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Beat LA? Not recently at home for the Celtics

By Brian Mahoney
AP Basketball Writer / June 9, 2010

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BOSTON—The fans still chant "Beat L.A! Beat L.A!", but the Celtics haven't done it in Boston in a while.

The Lakers' 91-84 victory in Game 3 was their third straight victory in the TD Garden. Los Angeles has won here in each of the last two regular seasons.

Quite a turnaround from when they lost all three games here in the 2008 NBA finals. Yet Kobe Bryant downplayed the idea that the Lakers have become more comfortable in their longtime rival's building.

"For us, we've always viewed ourselves as being a good road team," Bryant said Wednesday. "It doesn't really matter where we play. We feel like if we do our job, we give ourselves a heck of an opportunity no matter where we are. So from that standpoint, whether it's here or Utah or Oklahoma, we feel comfortable."

The Lakers are reminded of their 131-92 loss in Game 6 two years ago every time they come back to Boston. They stay in the same hotel they did then, which Pau Gasol said provides motivation.

"Every time we've stayed in that hotel reminds me of that last night," Gasol said. "I slept there after Game 6 and how bad I felt and how long of a night it was for us, and so the last two regular-season games I had the same feeling as I do every time I'm there."

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MAYOR'S MISTAKE: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino botched NBA commissioner David Stern's name at a community service event on Wednesday morning, calling him "Donald Sterns."

Don't worry, Mr. Commissioner, you're in good company.

At a ceremony last month to unveil a statue of Bruins Hall of Famer Bobby Orr, Menino referred to some of the "ionic" sporting moments in Boston history, including "Varitek splitting the uprights." He meant to praise New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri, who kicked the game-winners in back-to-back Super Bowls, and not Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek.

The commissioner was sitting nearby at the Tobin Community Center, where the league and Celtics dedicated a learn and play center. He showed no reaction to Menino's fumble.

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RATING THE REFS: It's no laughing matter for the Celtics and Lakers that their biggest stars have been in foul trouble in the NBA finals -- Ray Allen in Game 1, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant in Game 2 and Paul Pierce in Game 3.

Leave it to Glen "Big Baby" Davis, Boston's soft-spoken bruiser around the basket, to inject some levity into the issue.

He delivered a monologue Wednesday imitating the conversation that might go on between officials deciding if a ball is in or out of bounds.

" 'Is it out? I don't know. You think it's out? Well, I think it's out. I don't know. Could be in,' " Davis said. "So then they decide. It's a lot of things that come in the game of basketball that you have to deal with, but the refs have to take it from everybody."

That includes Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

"The game is more athletic. The game is faster. And it's brutal. We're hard on them," he said, "but it is a very difficult game to call. I think what we all want is just consistency. It's tough to get to that."

So what's the solution? Have the players make their own foul calls?

"Oh, my gosh. That would be bad also," Davis said. "Would I rather have their job? No way. They can have that. The game goes (in) so many directions, so many ups and downs and turns and I just think they do a great job of staying in there and trying to make the right call at the right time."

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RECOGNIZE THIS PLACE?: The Tobin Community Center in nearby Roxbury looks nothing like it did when the Boston Celtics used to practice there.

Not that Tommy Heinsohn would know.

"You know, we practiced in so many different places it's hard to remember," Heinsohn said.

That was back in the 1960s, when the Celtics ruled the NBA. That apparently didn't do them much good in their own city, where they bounced from place to place looking for practice time.

"The facilities were not available for the Boston Celtics like they are obviously now," Heinsohn said.

"When I was playing, the majority of the time we practiced at the Cambridge Y and we had to be out of there by 11:30 so they could get the women's dance class in there."

The NBA and the Celtics dedicated a new NBA Cares learn and play center there Wednesday, complete with a computer lab, a reading room and a gaming area, where Celtics forward Glen Davis towered over the child he played pingpong against.

Heinsohn recalled the Celtics used to dedicate local youth gyms and practice at them. Perhaps even Tobin?

"This might have been one of them," he said.

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FISHER THE FLOPPER: Derek Fisher chased Ray Allen around screens all night in Game 3. So what's his secret?

"Besides flopping?" Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "He doesn't do a lot extra. He plays hard. He's been in the game long enough to understand. I thought he got away with a lot last night. I thought there was a lot of holding going on and a lot of flopping going on."

Rivers even went to the rule book to figure out if what he saw was legal.

"You are not allowed to hold. You're not allowed to bump and you're not to impede progress," Rivers said. "I read that this morning and I'm positive of that. So you know, when that happens, then that has to be called."

Rivers said it was -- on the Celtics. He couldn't remember any moving screen calls on the Lakers, so he said he sent video of some questionable plays to the league office on Wednesday morning.

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